Cultural Identity in Apuleius´ Metamorphoses



Year of publication 2016
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Acta antiqua Academiae scientiarum Hungaricae
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Mass media, audiovision
Keywords cultural identity; Apuleius; Metamorphoses; multiculturalism; Romanness
Description There is hardly any ancient work as complex and multi-layered as Apuleius' novel Metamorphoses. Whether we regard it as a mere sophisticated literary entertainment, or a religious lesson disguised as fabula Graecanica, it certainly offers many angles of research. The aim of the paper is to examine its multicultural character. Although modelled on the Greek narrative and taking place in completely Greek environments following the Greek literary tradition; undeniably, it possesses an air of Romanness. The author lets his characters fluctuate somewhere between Roman and Greek, urban and provincial, local and imperial, barbarian and sophisticated. In many places, Lucius, Apuleius' alter ego, refers to the relationships between different cultures, especially Greek and Roman, not to forget African with respect to Apuleius´ origins. But we have to look even further and see the novel as a fictitious world of its own, playing on reader's expectations, prejudices, historical and cultural background. To understand the novel, one must try to uncover these subtle nuances which reflect the tastes of its readership. This paper tries to answer the question how Apuleius treats his target audience which was no doubt composed of a very multifarious mass of people, while at the same time having in mind that famous “Quis ille?” - a paradigm of Apuleius' approach in this novel in which the questions asked never seem to expect any answers, and if yes, not just one is tenable.
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